So, a week ago, everyone was ready to exchange. So what happened?
Seriously the one remaining step before completion is to exchange contracts and that one thing has not happened in a whole week.
This is not easy to work out exactly, but sounds like it went down like this, I think.
- Agent suggests Friday as date to exchange. No bloody clue why. Did not ask us. The agent knows that ALL PARTIES agreed to try and exchange before Christmas. That we are keen to sort this quickly (made very clear when we viewed and when we made the offer). I really want to get selling this house before stamp duty goes back up, otherwise it will probably cost me a lot in reduced house prices. That is getting less likely by the day.
- One of the parties decided that, as a result, they would make a ducking appointment with their solicitor for Friday. Why not Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday? Why? Why do that?
- And why an appointment? Telephones exist! Email exists! I have not seen my solicitor in the whole process! There is a damn pandemic on - seriously!
- It seems, from what I can tell, as a result of that appointment it became apparent one document, as a result of one query from one of the parties, needing providing. Something to do with a garage, and someone in the council needed to email it over. Seriously - why not sort that one document ANY TIME IN THE LAST 9 BLOODY WEEKS!
- So, updates during the day - my solicitor is great, keeping us informed.
- FINALLY! at around 3:30pm we are told everyone is ready to exchange - yay!
- I sorted house insurance for the new house as I assumed risk on exchange. This involved 25 mins on the phone as a web site refused to quote me.
Now my understanding is that the process is a short phone call, that is all. But the solicitor that finally confirmed ready to exchange then turned off his phone. That's right - TURNED OFF HIS PHONE!
Later, after 5pm, they emailed saying it was too late to exchange. They could have called, and exchanged, instead of emailing, but no, they have not exchanged.
This is the comment from the agent earlier this week :-
I agree with you whole heartedly! It is beyond me why The [seller's] solicitor will not speak to us? It is quite unusual! It is beyond me why they just leave people hanging and don't respond! It doesn't help anyone. I have tried to do my best to get information to keep everyone in the loop. We try and be reactive because that is what people need when they are going through such a stressful time. Clearly their solicitor doesn't think the same.
Even though we have a good solicitor, the whole process only works as well as the weakest link. The agent also said :-
I have to say that your solicitor is fantastic, super-efficient and super at communication. Unfortunately [the seller's] is not!
I can massively recommend Kite Griffin in Bracknell though.
P.S. I am having "fun" sorting all of the paperwork for selling this house. My plan is to have everything ready as much as possible, and complete, and no missing paperwork, nor certificates, or anything, so no queries and no delays, before even putting on the market.
And packing continues...